I follow a very basic routine of squat, deadlift, pull-up (weighted) and bench press, and have for many weeks.

What are some isolation, muscle-specific or machine exercises to 'fill-in the gaps'? One example that comes to mind is something for the rhomboids.

  • Do try to keep a balance: if you add 2 bicep movements, compliment with 2 tricep movements.
    – John
    Commented Jan 24, 2017 at 9:24

2 Answers 2


Continuing the theme of free-weight work you could try the following (for 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps, tracking and increasing weight slowly over time), those in bold are strongly recommended.

Outside of isolation, if you aren't doing power cleans, you should!


  • Barbell Overhead Press (strict)/Push Press
  • Dumbbell Lateral Raise
  • Barbell Shrug
  • Dumbbell Seated Shoulder Press
  • Dumbbell Reverse Fly


  • Barbell Row (Pendlay/Kroc/Bent Over)
  • Dumbbell Row
  • Literally any movement where you pull weight towards yourself.


  • Dips (weighted once you can comfortably do 10 unbroken)
  • Incline Bench Press
  • Decline Bench Press
  • Fly: Dumbbell, Cable or Machine are all good


  • Barbell Curl
  • Hammer Curl
  • Chin Ups
  • Rowing (back) movements usually give you some level of bicep workout!


  • Close grip bench press
  • Dips
  • Skullcrushers
  • Tricep pushdown


  • Rollout with an AB wheel
  • Hanging Leg Raise/Captains Chair
  • Plank


  • Front Squat
  • SSB Squat (if you gym has one)
  • Hack Squat/Leg Press
  • Lying Leg Curl
  • Leg Extension (careful with this as it can damage the knee joint at high weights, progress gently)

When following a strength routine, like yours (the three big lifts), you should include some optional excersices in order to have balance. Especially when you train for bodybuilding. It's prefered to be included one from the following excersises for each group per day:


  • Dumbbell Row
  • Machine Row


  • Seated or Standing Dumbbell Overhead Press
  • Military Press
  • Lateral Dumbbell Raises


  • Dumbbell curl
  • Barbell Curl
  • Dumbbell Hammer Curl
  • EZ Bar Curl

You can optionally include one of the following per week:

  • Lateral Dumbbell Raise (Strongly recommended)
  • Incline Chest Fly
  • One Armed Tricep Extension
  • Skullscrushers

For Leg Isolation, once or two per week, you can include:

  • Any form of calf raise.
  • Leg Curl
  • Leg Extension
  • Single Leg Press

Three sets of 8-10 reps will be great for those excersices.

  • On the theme of "big lifts" you might want to include: Barbell Row, Overhead Press, Close Grip Bench or Dumbbell-Equivalents of any of the above.
    – John
    Commented Jan 24, 2017 at 9:27
  • The "three big lifts" are Squat,Deadlift,Bench Press. Barbell Row and Overhead Press are big lifts but not on the "three big".
    – wdika
    Commented Jan 24, 2017 at 9:44

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